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Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot

by

Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot Cover

ISBN13: 9781594632198
ISBN10: 1594632197
All Product Details

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Early in the morning of February 21, 2012, five young women entered the enormous Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow, took off their overcoats to expose neon dresses, tights, and balaclavas, climbed up on the dais and began to perform a “punk prayer” beseeching the “Mother of God” to “get rid of Putin.” Although the performance was quickly shut down by security, thanks to YouTube the event began to make its way around the world. And in the weeks and months that followed, instead of fading from public awareness, Pussy Riot went viral, as three of the women were arrested and tried, and two of them were sentenced to a remote prison colony. From their cage-like confines in the courtroom, they spoke out with exceptional eloquence and bravery to condemn not only the circumstances of their own detention but the Putin regime and its massive corruption and abuses of power, including its unholy alliance with the Russian Orthodox Church. The world took notice. The trial captured international headlines and celebrities—Madonna, Bjork, the Red Hot Chili Peppers—raced to vocalize their support. It became increasingly clear that Pussy Riots “punk prayer” had been no prank and no accident but a uniquely well-conceived, well-planned, and well-executed act of political confrontation that surpassed what years of dissent and months of public protest had attempted: in a society built entirely on lies, it reinvented the power to tell the truth. It was a great work of art.

This riveting account, based on Masha Gessens exclusive, extensive access to the principals—she was the journalist they wanted to tell their story—tells how such a phenomenon came about. Centered around Nadya, the groups unofficial leader, and including the stories of several other members of the group and additional important major secondary characters, it portrays how a society at an Orwellian extreme of hypocrisy spawned a group of women determined, from a very young age, to confront it and to make their confrontation heard and felt. And it also portrays the devastating loneliness and isolation that is the price of such success.

Review:

"Bestselling author Gessen (The Man Without a Face) chronicles the progression of Nadya Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, and Kat Samutsevich from their idealistic beginnings as young intellectuals to their arrest and prosecution for hooliganism as the punk rock collective Pussy Riot. The events are set in the background of Putin's Russia with its rigged elections, 'bourgeois morality,' and the corrupt Russian Orthodox Church that ignited a firestorm of protest. The author sets the stage with early Pussy Riot actions in Moscow Metro stations and the Red Square, before culminating in the notorious event, in which they used the performance art piece 'Mother of God, Get Rid of Putin' as a form of protest at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. She details their frightening arrest and interrogation in which Samutsevich was threatened with rape and months of pretrial detention. What follows is a trial reminiscent of those from the Soviet era, with bumbling defense attorneys, pearl-clutching witnesses, a bomb threat, and a botched political action, while the defendants watched from within a clear Plexiglas aquarium. Readers visit the penal colony in Mordovia where Tolokonnikova's family travel 11 hours to sit with her for a mere two and a half. Interspersed throughout are Pussy Riot lyrics, correspondence with Gessen, friends and journalists, and the entirety of the closing statements at the trial. Gessen's manner of storytelling is exhilarating and cinematic and this important book will be the definitive text on Pussy Riot. (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

The heroic story of Pussy Riot, who resurrected the power of truth in a society built on lies

On February 21, 2012, five young women entered the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. In neon-colored dresses, tights, and balaclavas, they performed a “punk prayer” beseeching the “Mother of God” to “get rid of Putin.” They were quickly shut down by security, and in the weeks and months that followed, three of the women were arrested and tried, and two were sentenced to a remote prison colony. But the incident captured international headlines, and footage of it went viral. People across the globe recognized not only a fierce act of political confrontation but also an inspired work of art that, in a time and place saturated with lies, found a new way to speak the truth.

Masha Gessens riveting account tells how such a phenomenon came about. Drawing on her exclusive, extensive access to the members of Pussy Riot and their families and associates, she reconstructs the fascinating personal journeys that transformed a group of young women into artists with a shared vision, gave them the courage and imagination to express it unforgettably, and endowed them with the strength to endure the devastating loneliness and isolation that have been the price of their triumph.

About the Author

 Masha Gessen is a journalist and the author of several previous books, most recently Perfect Rigor. Editor of the Russian-language Snob magazine, she has contributed to Vanity Fair, The New Republic, Granta, and Slate, among other publications. 

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

lukas, August 1, 2014 (view all comments by lukas)
"So the word is more sincere than concrete? So the word is not a trifle? Then may noble people begin to grown, and their word will break cement."-Solzhenitsyn For those who have been following the incredible story of the punk feminist activist group (for lack of a better description) Pussy Riot as they have clashed with the Russian government over the past few years, this is an important book. It is frightening that in the 21st century, peaceful dissidence can be criminal and three of the members were jailed for their activities. This book, by a Russian-American journalist who has also written about Putin, will both infuriate and inspire readers. These women are fiercely intelligent and very brave and it is absolutely shameful how they have been treated. Also check out the HBO documentary "Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer," which covers much of the same material.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781594632198
Subtitle:
The Passion of Pussy Riot
Author:
Gessen, Masha
Publisher:
Riverhead Trade
Subject:
Presidents
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20140108
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Arts
Featured Titles » General
History and Social Science » Russia » Soviet States Post 1985
History and Social Science » World History » Russia

Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot New Trade Paper
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Product details 320 pages Riverhead Books - English 9781594632198 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Bestselling author Gessen (The Man Without a Face) chronicles the progression of Nadya Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, and Kat Samutsevich from their idealistic beginnings as young intellectuals to their arrest and prosecution for hooliganism as the punk rock collective Pussy Riot. The events are set in the background of Putin's Russia with its rigged elections, 'bourgeois morality,' and the corrupt Russian Orthodox Church that ignited a firestorm of protest. The author sets the stage with early Pussy Riot actions in Moscow Metro stations and the Red Square, before culminating in the notorious event, in which they used the performance art piece 'Mother of God, Get Rid of Putin' as a form of protest at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. She details their frightening arrest and interrogation in which Samutsevich was threatened with rape and months of pretrial detention. What follows is a trial reminiscent of those from the Soviet era, with bumbling defense attorneys, pearl-clutching witnesses, a bomb threat, and a botched political action, while the defendants watched from within a clear Plexiglas aquarium. Readers visit the penal colony in Mordovia where Tolokonnikova's family travel 11 hours to sit with her for a mere two and a half. Interspersed throughout are Pussy Riot lyrics, correspondence with Gessen, friends and journalists, and the entirety of the closing statements at the trial. Gessen's manner of storytelling is exhilarating and cinematic and this important book will be the definitive text on Pussy Riot. (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by ,
The heroic story of Pussy Riot, who resurrected the power of truth in a society built on lies

On February 21, 2012, five young women entered the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. In neon-colored dresses, tights, and balaclavas, they performed a “punk prayer” beseeching the “Mother of God” to “get rid of Putin.” They were quickly shut down by security, and in the weeks and months that followed, three of the women were arrested and tried, and two were sentenced to a remote prison colony. But the incident captured international headlines, and footage of it went viral. People across the globe recognized not only a fierce act of political confrontation but also an inspired work of art that, in a time and place saturated with lies, found a new way to speak the truth.

Masha Gessens riveting account tells how such a phenomenon came about. Drawing on her exclusive, extensive access to the members of Pussy Riot and their families and associates, she reconstructs the fascinating personal journeys that transformed a group of young women into artists with a shared vision, gave them the courage and imagination to express it unforgettably, and endowed them with the strength to endure the devastating loneliness and isolation that have been the price of their triumph.

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